A Story From One International Worker

The following is a testimony from an Alliance International Worker that was received by Gary Friesen

When I first heard of Peacemakers or peacemaking, I wrongfully assumed that it wasn’t for me. After all, I never had any sort of major conflict with anyone in the past that wasn’t quickly resumed. I got along more than fine with most people and what I read in seminary and in preparation for the field only happened to others – team conflict would never send me home.

After being on the field for 6 months, I shortly realized how wrong I was. “How could this be? How could they be so wrong time and time again? How can they keep making the same bad decisions over and over again? Don’t they see the impact its having on us and our team, not to mention nationals?” were statements that repeated over and over again. Fast forward 3 1/2 years later. I was talking not just to the field director but also to the regional director: “If something doesn’t change, we are leaving the field” I found myself saying.

Emotionally, I was a wreck. So much so, that, I became physically ill on more than one occasion. It not only affected me physically and emotionally but also my wife and our marriage. All that we could talk about was our conflict. We could see how this conflict – turned sin – was leeching onto those we ministered to as well. Divisions were abounding!

Peacemaking was the only option. After leadership called Tim Owen, we immediately began meeting weekly with him via Skype. What struck me was that their problem was not the focus; my bitterness, resentment and sin was. Tim listened to our story, pointed us to Scripture, redirected our focus on Christ and over a very short amount of time – 6 weeks – brought us to the point where we met with the people we were having conflict with.

Going through the conciliation process and dealing with people that we became embittered towards over our entire term was not easy. Tim called on Skype again to lead us through the process. Although it was 3:00 am Tim’s time when we finished, his commitment to resolution and peace has had a lasting impact on me. It was a long day of sharing, listening, being corrected, repenting and asking for forgiveness. Leaving that day gave us hope. We had freedom from bitterness, a clearer understanding of the wrongs that we incurred on those we had conflict with, a plan on how to deal with future conflict and most of all, the peace of Christ.

Before joining The Alliance as Alliance Peacemaking Consultant, Gary Friesen served at Peacemaker Ministries overseeing all mediation cases, Executive Vice President, and finally as acting CEO. Gary has taught biblical peacemaking, mediation, and arbitration across the globe. He is passionate about seeing people everywhere experience the redemptive power of the Gospel in their relationships.


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